Doha to Turn ‘Blue’ for WISH and UNICEF Event Marking World Children’s Day

On the occasion of World Children’s Day on 20 November, the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) will host a special virtual event in partnership with UNICEF and stakeholders from Qatar and across the world.

Kicking off at 2pm (Doha time), the post-WISH 2020 event will feature keynote talks, panel discussions, live musical and art performances, and will conclude at 7.30 pm, with Doha’s landmark buildings lit up in ‘UN blue’ to show support for universal child rights.

WISH, Qatar Foundation’s (QF) global health initiative, is joining hands with local organizations, including the Ministry of Public Health, Doha International Family Institute, and Sidra Medicine, to support UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children. The 2020 theme ‘A day to reimagine a better future for every child’ is a challenge to rebuild a better world for children. It will also act as the launch pad for the publication of a significant new report by international charity Save The Children.

The opening ceremony will feature welcome addresses by Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. The Kuwaiti educational and social expert Dr. Jasem Al Mutawa will deliver a keynote speech as part of the event.

Three interactive panel discussions will highlight some of the severest development challenges. In turn, they will examine child and adolescent health during COVID-19, with a focus on the need to protect vulnerable children; a public health approach to addressing violence against children; and child development in the information age – a time when digital technology, such as social media, can be a significant threat to a child wellbeing.

Focusing on the plight of children living in warzones, Inger Ashing, CEO of UK-based humanitarian charity Save the Children, and active WISH partner, will lead a presentation on their report, Stop the War on Children. Their research has revealed that five times more children than fighters are being killed in conflicts and that the number of grave violations against children has almost tripled since 2010.

The full program will include a live art performance by the Omani artist and disability rights activist Safiya Al Bahlani. She will be drawing an original art piece based on the day’s theme, and participants can observe her creative process during a live stream of the artist at work. Her completed work will be unveiled at the end. 

The final segment of the program will feature several live musical performances, including Kodi Lee, Korean American singer-songwriter and pianist and America’s Got Talent winner. The 22-year old singing prodigy, who is blind and has autism, has inspired legions of fans all over the world. The aspiring young musicians from the Qatar Music Academy will also be performing at the event. There will also be special messages from two of the keynote speakers from WISH 2020 – Morgan Freeman and Eva Longoria.

The program will conclude with landmark locations across Doha turning blue, including Msheireb Downtown Doha’s Barahat Square, the Museum of Islamic Art, the National Museum of Qatar, 2015 Building (QF Headquarters).

WISH CEO, Sultana Afdhal, said: “In support of UNICEF’s key mission on World Children’s Day, our event will encourage ‘togetherness’ in achieving our shared goal of protecting the rights of children. With the global healthcare community gathered to exchange knowledge and dialogue during WISH 2020 this past week around issues such as toxic stress and PTSD in children as well as latest trends of providing healthcare to children in conflict zones, we are determined in our efforts to capitalize on our learnings to promote children’s welfare because that is an essential component of our vision for a healthier world.”

The World Children’s Day event is open to all, via wish.org.qa, or follow WISH on social media channels: @WISHQatar on Twitter.